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Why Your Support is Needed

Now I know what you’re probably thinking, is this really necessary? Most likely no but hey, I’ve got to write about something here. Support is always needed. In life, in art, and in so many other things. Without support, a lot of things never truly get out there. That and the support of my friends, peers, and even strangers means a lot to me.

As an author who plans to self-publish, building an audience and having support is a major key to my success. Well, I presume there will be a small amount of success but that is definitely not guaranteed. But in order for there to even be a small amount of success, I need you all. Even if you don’t read, like fantasy fiction, or don’t like my book in particular. There may be someone out there who does and your help with getting it out there would mean so much to me.

Being black and a woman has is advantages, I will say that. However, because of those two things I often feel as though my art and my voice are constantly overlooked. Could be all in my head but I doubt that. To add to that, there is the fact that there are not many black women fantasy fiction writers. Attempting to break into that market is going to particularly difficult for me to do but I am not going to let that stop me. I can’t let it hold me back from trying, even if it gets to me.

So again, your support is greatly needed. It will always be needed and I will always appreciate it. I will do my best to let you know how appreciative I am every single day.

 

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Going for Broke

A phrase used quite a lot but it is definitely something I always feel like I am doing. I put my all into pretty much everything I do and I hardly ever expect results from it. The reason for this is because I love the things that I do. If someone else loves them too, that’s great, but it is not the only reason I do things. That sounds crazy full of myself but I promise you I am not.

I spend a lot of time wondering why I do things, or rather, why I try to do things. I am constantly plagued with self-doubt and anxiety, so the additional stress at times hardly seems worth it. Truth be told, nine times out of ten I give up on a project before it is even finished. I have so many unfinished poems and stories that I don’t even know if I would qualify myself as a writer sometimes. It is all very, woe is me, but whatever. Where am I going with this? Oh yea that’s right, going for broke.

With Imitatore, I am going for broke. I am going to self-publish this book and put myself further out there than I ever have before. It is absolutely the most nerve racking thing I will ever do and I do burlesque. I have a hard time sharing my writing, simply because I am always afraid that no one will like it or understand it. I know, that in the end that part doesn’t matter. What matters is how I feel about the work that I put out but it is still nice if someone likes what I do. There are no guarantees that anyone will like Imitatore, none at all but I am not going to let that stop me; not this time.

With self-publishing comes inevitable expenses and as a broke college student, that word scares me. I don’t know if I could work up the courage to do a gofundme or a kickstarter because I really hate asking for money. That and I have no idea who would want to donate to something like that. Especially when there is no guarantee that this book will even be successful. I know I have to do something because I believe in this project, I just don’t know what I am going to do yet. I need luck, confidence, and so many other things. I am slowly finding them along the way, hopefully everything falls into place soon.

 

What have some of you done in your own self-publishing journeys? Have you raised money through a crowdfunding campaign or did you go it alone?

A. Rose

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Writing a Non-Binary Character

There are a lot of reasons for this, none that I’m sure need to be named but I’m going to talk about it anyway. The number one reason why I did this, is you guessed it, representation. There are many Trans people in my life and within that spectrum, I feel as though non-binary individuals don’t have the type of representation that they would like to have.

Now I am not the authority to speak for them, nor will I ever claim to be. I merely observe and listen from afar. I can see whats important, I can see the types of things that need to be done, and most of all I want to be the ally that helps do them. With my non-binary character, I did not want some tragic and pained backstory. What I wanted was a strong character, with development and kick-ass powers. A non-binary character that everyone just accepted without question and without them having to prove anything to anyone. Though what I want isn’t necessarily the point here, I do think it is important that a non-binary person is just that, a person.

Now from a different side, I thought it important to have a black non-binary character. Often Trans and Queer POC are left out of a lot of narratives even though they do exist. A lot of it is culture, a lot is erasure, and a lot is just a sheer lack of understanding. This black non-binary character is not a token, they will never be a token. I wanted to step out of the box of tokenism and actually allow this character to just be. My black non-binary character is a central and crucial part of the story, without them the story would not even exist.

I hope that when my Trans friends read my book if they do, that they like what I did. That I did right by them as an ally and as a friend. Again, my intention is not to speak for you, though they say the intention isn’t always what matters.

What are your opinions on Trans representation in books, movies, and other media? Especially non-binary individuals. Do you do anything to change this? If so what?

A. Rose

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Why Now?

This is a question that I ask myself a lot, especially these days. Why am I doing this now? Why did I wait so long? Why don’t I wait a little longer? My mind is full of questions and doubts as I go through this process. Writing is something that I have always loved and while my depression often gets in the way of the things that I love, I always come back to writing somehow.

I have tried my hand at many different things, as most people do when they are searching for a place in life. I think I have actually spent more time trying new pursuits than I have with sticking with just one thing. Honestly, I have spent pretty much all of my life so far just looking for a place I belong in. To me, that sounds crazy high school but I am slowly realizing that even adults struggle with this. That even adults just want to feel like we belong somewhere, like we are going to be someone, and even that we are going to make a difference in the world. It may be cliche but it’s the truth.

I had a realization this year, one I was finally happy to have. I realized that not fitting in anywhere, is exactly who I am meant to be. Being a writer typically means being solo, it means being stuck in my own head, but most of all it means that there are molds that I want to break. Now I know what you’re thinking, is this a goddamn manifesto? Ha, no. I am not trying to be on my soapbox in the least bit. I’ve just learned that is time for me to do what I want to do and let go of the fear of ‘not fitting in’. It is a difficult thing to do when I also have anxiety to go along with my depression but I have to start doing what makes me happy.

Imitatore has helped me with this so much. Writing this novel has been the happiest I’ve ever been (well next to being with my boyfriend, he’s my number one happy). How about I say, this is the happiest I’ve ever been in my own life outside of my relationship life. Imitatore is a culmination of years of therapy, medication treatment, mental breakdowns, and alternative therapies. Again, sounds ridiculous and cliche but I can’t help if I am ridiculous and cliche. Writing this novel has changed me, most of all it has helped me see that my path is to write. While I will maintain going to college and finishing my psychology degree, I will never leave writing behind.

A. Rose

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Black Characters in the Fantasy World

The one thing I have noticed growing up is that the fantasy fiction world is often very white. They were always characters that I love or identified with to some extent but none of them were ever truly like me. This is not a dig at authors I love but merely a statement about how representation is an important thing.

For Imitatore, I wanted a fantasy world that I identified with. I wanted characters like me and like other black people that I know. I would say people of color but the characters in Imitatore are all different shades of black. It was something I thought about heavily and when I had first started writing this novel, I’ll be honest none of my characters were black. I wanted to fit in with the genre that I loved so much but as I grew older, I slowly realized I wanted to do the opposite. I wanted to break the mold, I wanted to write a story that I know people want to read. Well maybe I don’t know that people want to read it but a girl can hope that they do.

So here we are now, with characters that have complexities and truly develop and are not just token black characters for the masses. Representation is what I am aiming for but I also just want the story to be fun. I am of firm belief that not every black book has to be about struggle and strife, sometimes it can just be about magical and superpowered black people. Imitatore is all of that and I hope it is more than that. I honestly hope that someday you all get to read it and see it in the same way that I do. Maybe you won’t, maybe it will be absolutely terrible and honestly, I am alright with that too. Even if what I have written never catches on to the masses, I know I have written something that needs to exist.

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Imitatore- A long time in the making

This has been a very long road, I know a lot of people say that but I am honestly not kidding when I tell you that this has been years in the making. I got my first glimpse of the world of Imitatore in fifth grade, I had a crazy dream about this world and knew that I just had to write it down. While I drew inspiration from fantasy universes that I had grown fond of, this one was going to be my own.

When I had first started writing Imitatore, it was absolutely terrible. I had no real set plot, my grammar was just all over the place, and there really was nothing that set this story apart from anything else that I had seen. Mind you, I was just a kid and I knew I wanted to be a writer but I did not really have much training or encouragement in that particular realm. Poems were something that I had always written, as were short stories but whether or not they were any good is completely subjective. I do know that I believed they were good and I guess that is partly what matters.

I have written and scraped Imitatore many times, too many in fact. When I went back to read what I had originally written in elementary school, I saw the basis of a really good story but it had zero discipline so it had to be redone. I set out to rewrite in middle school, then scraped it again and the whole project was then placed on the back burner for a long time due to depression and a host of other things. When I started the project back up in late high school, I was excited. Now at this time I had been handwriting everything, I was a big fan of writing everything by hand and not so much of typing. When I left for college the first time, I took my handwritten manuscript with me. Now, I won’t discuss what went wrong with my first try at college but I will say it was not my grades that were the issue. The college I chose was crazy far out of state and really expensive, when I came home for winter break I did not return and consequently left all my belongings there; including my handwritten manuscript.

After that, I forgot about Imitatore for a while but I continued to dream in the world I longed to create. Depression took it’s toll on me yet again and I did not write or do anything but work for a few years. Eventually I went back to school, met a great guy, and started to get my life back together. I graduated as a paralegal in 2016 and now am currently back in school to get my degree in psychology. This year, I began writing Imitatore again and I made it my goal to do it for real this time. No excuses, no backing out, and no giving up. I did it, I finally did something I never thought I’d be able to do. I am happy. While I’m still not sure what I plan to do once I have finished editing and everything, I am extremely proud that I have done this, despite all the obstacles in my way.

If it does come out, I hope you all read it and enjoy it. I hope you see the world of Imitatore the way that I do. I hope that you see yourselves in it and maybe find yourself inspired as well. Above all, I just hope you love it.

A. Rose

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To Self-Publish or Find an Agent?

Hi all and welcome to my first blog post.

I am currently still in the editing phases of Imitatore but I keep going back and forth about what I want to do once I’m done. The idea of getting some huge book deal has been an ultimate dream of mine since childhood but the fear of rejection keeps me from submitting to agents or publishers. Self-publishing also seems like a good way to go but it does involve a lot of effort on my part, both physically and financially. I have spent so long writing this story and the only thing I want most is for the world to read it, I am honestly just stuck on how to get there.

The drawbacks to attempting to submit to publishers or agents is the simple fact that I have no platform and not a lot of people know who I am. I do not have any degrees in writing and this is my first full fantasy fiction work. I don’t know about you but to me, that does not sound like someone I would bank on right out of the gate. However, there is always the possibility that I am wrong and that my work is good and someone would be overjoyed to work with me. I want to try but it is a long arduous process and I’m not sure I want to wait that long.

Self-publishing requires self-promotion, something that has never been a strong suit for me. It also requires a certain amount of financial capability if I want print books or to do signings and things of that nature. While ebooks are all the rage, I still want my book in print and in stores. I would not know how to make that happen. I guess I really don’t know much about the world of self-publishing at all. Hell, I’d love some advice.

So right now, I painstakingly edit while my mind refuses to make itself up. Though I must say, whether Imitatore is published or not, I am proud that I finished it. I thought about giving up so many times but I knew that this was my story to tell and no one other than me could do it. So, if anyone can offer any advice on the matter I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks for reading.

A. Rose